Wind farm

From Academic Kids

A wind farm is a collection of wind turbines all in the same location and used for the generation of electricity.

Wind farms can be positioned on land or offshore. In Europe, offshore farms are more common, while they are just starting to be implemented in the United States.


Wind farms in the US

Numerous small and fast turning wind turbines at Altamont Pass
Numerous small and fast turning wind turbines at Altamont Pass

One of the earliest large wind farms is located at Altamont Pass in northern California. This is composed of large numbers of relatively small wind turbines of various types. They were installed after the 1970s energy crisis in response to favorable tax policies for investors. It has been said that their primary product is not electricity but rather tax write-offs. Considered largely obsolete, these numerous small turbines are being gradually replaced with much larger and more cost-effective units. An advantage of the Altamont Pass site is that under hot inland (Central Valley) conditions, a thermal low is developed that brings in cool coastal marine air, driving the turbines at a time of maximum need. However, this phenomenon is not always reliable and with an inland high pressure condition the entire region can be both hot and windless. At this time additional power must be provided by natural gas-powered gas turbine peaker plants. The turbines are dangerous to various raptors that hunt ground squirrels in the area.

In Massachusetts, two proposed wind farms have been treated very differently by residents. The Cape Wind project, a proposal to construct 130 offshore wind turbines in the Nantucket Sound, is the subject of heavy debate in the affluent communities of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. In contrast, the Hoosac Wind project, which will build 20 turbines on two ridgelines in the rural towns of Florida and Monroe, was initially the subject of little official controversy. Several other projects have been proposed for the area.

Wind farms in Europe

Missing image
A modern wind farm near Copenhagen.

The development of wind farms in Europe enjoys greater public acceptance and creates a larger share of energy, though the goal of reducing the emissions from the use of other sources remains elusive and opposition to their spread grows steadily.

Governmental policy is generally in favour of increasing the use of renewable energy sources, however — the United Kingdom government, for example, has a target for 10% of domestic energy consumption to be generated for renewable sources by the year 2010 and is planning on- and off-shore wind farms at the moment, including having recently opened an onshore farm at Cefn Croes in West Wales's Cambrian Mountains. [1] (

Wind farms in Japan

Missing image
Wakamatsu wind farm, Kitakyushu, Japan

There is no particular controversy about the sightliness or otherwise of the Wakamatsu ward windfarm in Kitakyushu, as there is in some other countries. It is far from the scenic areas of Wakamatsu, and on windy reclaimed land. Asahi Shimbun reported on May 18, 2005, that many utilities have put limits on the amount of wind power they will allow, because of the problems caused by its unpredictable variability.

Wind farms in Canada

The total capacity of all wind farms in Canada is approximately 444 MW. Roughly sixty percent of this capacity is from wind farms in the province of Alberta, and an additional quarter is contributed from wind farms in Quebec. The three largest wind farms in Canada are:

  1. McBride Lake (near Fort Macleod, Alberta), 75MW
  2. Summerview, (near Pincher Creek, Alberta), 68MW
  3. Le Nordais Phase 1 (near Cap Chat, Quebec), 57MW

See also: List of wind farms in Canada.


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